Nigel Cooke: Painter’s Beach Club
8th Jan 2019
In 2019, Jerwood Gallery will premiere previously unseen and new works by critically acclaimed artist Nigel Cooke in an exhibition entitled Painter’s Beach Club.
The Jerwood Gallery show is something of a homecoming for Cooke, as Hastings is where he first had his paintings shown as a professional artist.
Coming back to Hastings after many adventures – in painting and the art world in general – to mount a show, has the feel of an odyssey. That’s the thing about painting; no matter how far you think you travel, you always end up back at the beginning. A lot of my work has the shoreline as its location and, because Jerwood Gallery is by the sea, I wanted to focus on this aspect. Like all of us straining to get to the beach when the sun is out, I like to set my paintings at a similar frontier, an idealistic background that the painting can react to.
Cooke’s paintings, frequently on monumental canvases measuring up to 6’ by 12’, feature somewhat dystopian landscapes, peopled by a variety of oddball and yet recognisable characters. Each painting demands close inspection as, among the weeds, stones and rubble we discover graffiti-like slogans, motifs and painterly references to his artistic heroes, such as Francis Bacon, Velazquez and Goya. Cooke likes to work at close range and at a distance, so it often seems like each painting contains many smaller ones within it.
The exhibition runs from 19 January – 24 March at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.
Image: Nigel Cooke in his studio ©Lens & Pixel (.co.uk), courtesy Jerwood Gallery.